A cost-effective option to increase your home's energy efficiency in Boston or anywhere else can be to replace the attic insulation, especially if you live somewhere with frigid winters. The following actions should help you:
Wear safety glasses, a mask, gloves, and long sleeves as protection. Make sure the attic has enough airflow. Keep an eye out for dangers like exposed nails. Use a solid platform or walkboard instead of standing directly on the ceiling joists to avoid injury.
2. Establish the kind and quantity of insulation required:
According to the recommended R-value for insulation, Boston is in Zone 5. R-values between R49 and R60 are commonly required for attics in Zone 5. Verify the insulation's current level. You probably need more if there is less than 11 inches of fiberglass, rock wool, or 8 inches of cellulose.
3. Old insulation removal (if necessary):
Loose-fill insulation can be taken out with the use of a sizable shop vacuum with a long hose. Roll up batts and rolls as usual. To dispose of the old insulation, bag it safely. Regarding disposal rules, check with your neighborhood municipality.
4. Seal the Attic with Air:
It's essential to stop any air leaks before adding new insulation. Small spaces should be caulked, and larger gaps should be filled with expanding foam. By taking this precaution, warm, wet air is kept out of the attic where it might potentially lead to problems like ice dams or mold. Pay close attention to any gaps in the framework, plumbing vents, and areas nearby light fixtures.
5. Setting up the Fresh Insulation:
If you're using batts or rolls, position them parallel to the joists. Use unfaced batts if you're laying them over existing insulation. You can rent an insulation blower machine if you're utilizing loose-fill insulation. As opposed to attempting to disseminate it manually, this may be more effective. Make sure the distribution is even throughout the attic.
6. Think About Ventilation:
Make sure the insulation is not blocking the soffit vents. To maintain proper airflow from the soffits to the peak of the attic, use baffles if necessary. Make sure no other vents, such as those in the ridge or gable, are blocked.
It is essential to insulate the attic hatch or entrance. To seal off this area, utilize rigid foam insulation and weatherstripping.
8. Verify Local Building Regulations:
Municipalities may have different specifications. In Boston, you should confirm that your construction complies with applicable building codes by contacting the Inspectional Services Department (ISD).
9. Take into account a qualified energy audit:
An energy audit can be something to think about before you start. Programs to assist homes in increasing energy efficiency are occasionally provided by the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER). An audit can identify precisely where energy is being lost from your home.
Clean up any mess that was made during installation. Old insulation should be sealed and disposed of in accordance with local waste disposal laws.
Note: To make sure the insulation is placed correctly and safely, consider hiring a professional if you're unsure about any process. It's worthwhile to make the investment in proper insulation because it can lower energy costs and improve the comfort of your house.